I’m a little surprised to be writing this piece. I thought yoga instructors would endorse Pepsi before it came to this. But I decided to take a leap of faith and put my knowledge out into the world.
There are so many ways to approach this topic. I could be edgy, swearing in every other sentence and throwing around snarky remarks about corporates. But I decided not to, for two reasons. First, I don’t know more than three cuss words. I’m not saying I’m not a pottymouth – I’m just not a very eloquent pottymouth. Second, cursing people with successful careers is a cliché. I don’t do clichés. I’m uNiQuE.
Just kidding. If you want this whole process to be easier, you should first learn Cliché as a Second Language. Generic whining will make you very relatable so if you don’t have a job, at least you’ll have friends. Here are some examples of complaints to keep handy:
- You need experience to get a job. You need a job to get experience. It’s just not fair!
- I should marry rich.
- I would never use words like “long-term growth strategy” in my resume. I’m going to write my resume in knock-knock jokes, that’s what will make me stand out.
PS – The knock-knock jokes idea is mine.
Job-hunting can consume you. It’s a reflex to scroll down to the Careers page on every website. Once, I was trying to book my parents a hotel room and before I realized what was happening, I was on the hotel’s employment page frantically telling them why I’d make a great PR associate, even though they were looking for a chef.
It’s a time double standards reign supreme. Many times, I have worked myself into a hissy fit over a polite “We didn’t see a fit but we’ll keep you on file for future opportunities.” “I bet you say that to everyone!” I’d cry, and then copy-paste “I was pleasantly surprised to have finally stumbled upon the right job for me” on the fiftieth cover letter that day.
I’ve made my love for clichés pretty clear. I’m the real-life lazy-TV-dad-and-nagging-mom combo. The groom telling his bride “I know it’s bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress but you’re so beautiful” while the studio audience says “Aw!” So without further ado, I’ll take you into the next part of this – networking.
To know what networking is, you should first know what it’s not.
*ducks as people throw things at me*
I’ve gathered some research findings from Professor Internet, and here are some things networking is not:
- A platform to brag
- Comic Con for business card collectors
- Speed dating in suits
- A place to sulk in silence
- A “who deserves employment more” contest
See? It’s more obvious now – networking is your destination for free food.
Networking scares me. To avoid looking stupid, I research myself to death. Somehow, there are no tips on dealing with that. No one else seems to run the risk of blurting “So, is that situation with your doctor all settled now?” when there’s a lull.
Note: Apparently there is advice online on asking the right questions, so the one thing I pride myself on – research – doesn’t hold good anymore.
First, I thought I’d end this with a link to my LinkedIn profile. But if I do that, a recruiter can see other LinkedIn profiles on that annoying “people like you” bar. I’m not trying to play in the spirit of fair competition. I’m trying to erase everyone’s memory of other qualified recent graduates who are flexible on salary and location.
So instead, I’ll end this the way I started it – with some words of wisdom. Track all the jobs you’ve applied to. Colour-code them by location, role, prettiness of website, status of application, time spent crying over it. You will be left with a colourful tracker. Who doesn’t like colourful trackers?